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Never mind the turkey, it's eat or stay warm

View profile for Joanne Ellis
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The results of the second round of Real Life Reforms study were published in December deepening concern for those in social housing accommodation.

The study aims to track the impact of welfare reform across 70-100 representative social housing households across the North. Eight landlords are leading the study, including Wigan and Leigh Housing, Halton Housing Trust and Liverpool Housing Trust.

The tenants were asked a series of questions in July this year and again in October this year six months into the welfare reforms.  The results mirror the experience of the clients we deal with in the housing team fighting to keep a roof over their heads for Christmas.

The report revealed that the average daily spend on food per person has reduced by 36% from £3.27 per person per day to just £2.10 per person per day while 72 % of households spend less than £40 per week on food, an increase from 63 % in July.

The report raises harrowing concerns about the welfare of people in the North. One lady interviewed went into a diabetic hypo as she wasn’t able to buy enough food. Another has been warned by the police that five robberies were committed in their area in a week as people get more and more desperate. 12.2 % of households owe money to a pay day lender.  Not surprisingly morale is running low. Only 5% are optimistic about the future, a fall from an already low 11% from the first report.

We act for an increasing amount of people simply unable to pay their rent let alone afford the Christmas turkey. A local social landlord has recently told us that they have seen an increase in the amount of possession applications made to court of 150%.

If you are struggling to pay your rent and are receiving letters from your landlord our team of housing experts at Stephensons can assist.

By Joanne Murray, Partner and head of the Housing department

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